Ken Rutkowski is the Co-Founder of the #1 business radio talk show in America, the nationally syndicated “Business Rockstars”, heard on over 185 radio stations nationwide, reaching 3.5 Million daily listeners.
Considered the first of it’s kind, the program gained rapid growth of listeners and sponsors, becoming the place for entrepreneurs and “wantra-preneurs” to talk about all things Business. In 1995 Ken created the podcast when he worked with Mark Cuban and his groundbreaking internet radio format. Today, Ken is the host and creator of the new syndicated show “Voice of Disruption”.
Ken is the connective tissue within the business landscape. He is a master at taking great ideas and turn them into multi-million dollar businesses. Among other things, Ken teaches entrepreneurs the secrets of how to attain real positioning for their business on radio, TV, and print. Ken’s broad range of knowledge across many industries, coming from having interviewed thousands of the top Executives, CEOs, and Changemakers on the planet, as well as investing in many successful businesses himself, enables him to customize presentations for each audience with specific insider research, technology and industry trends that bring them real-time ROI and actionables that they can immediately take with them into their business. He also shows businesses what customers want, need, and are asking for today, and most importantly how to connect with and engage prospective and existing customers.
It’s hard to predict the future, especially if you’re still struggling to figure out what’s happening in today’s business landscape. But this is exactly what Ken does by showing what business will bring within the next six months to ten years. Using rich statistical data coupled with insight from his interviews, Ken brings the future of the business world into today’s grasp. Knowing what “will be” gives any executive an extra edge up on their competitors, banking on opportunities to capitalize on what generally is hidden from the masses.
Ken the dealmaker has brought together billions of US dollars in deals. Working with fortune 100 companies, top entertainment studios and governments, Ken’s inherent talent of bridging opportunity together is part of his DNA makeup. He has collaborated with, grown, enhanced, sat on the board, and consulted with companies including the likes of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, SurfAir, Motorola, AT&T, Telstra, Singtel, SBS, Dish Network/ Echostar, and many more.. Ken has also collaborated, consulted, and partnered with various governments including Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Panama.
Ken is considered one of the most connected individuals in the world. He is ranked in the top 1% of Facebook & Linkedin, and has millions listeners globally from social and from the “Business Rockstars” show.
As a thought leader, networker and influencer across multiple industries, Ken has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, BBC, Wired, Business Week, Asahi Shinbun, Bangkok Times, Finland Helsingin Sanomat, and dozens of other publications worldwide.
He has been a featured presenter, speaker and moderator at technology and media conferences including Milken Institute Global Conference, The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), The National Association of Broadcasters Convention (NAB), CTIA, National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE), Digital Hollywood, Internet World, LA Games Conference, XMediaLab, GadgetFest, and Future of Television Conference. He has also spoken at the many of the most prestigious U.S. universities including Northwestern, Illinois, MIT, Stanford, USC, and UCLA, preparing the brightest minds for brilliant careers.
VANESSA VAN EDWARDS
Vanessa Van Edwards is a published author and behavioral investigator. Vanessa is a Huffington Post columnist and Penguin author.
As the founder of the ScienceofPeople.com, she regularly gives keynotes and appears in the media to talk about her research and has been featured on NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the Today Show and USA Today. She has written for CNN, Fast Company and Forbes.
She is also a sought-after corporate consultant and has used her research to consult for numerous Fortune 500 companies including American Express, Clean and Clear and Symantec. Vanessa has spoken to groups across the globe from the stage at the Consumer Electronic Show to presenting research at MIT.
As a professional people watcher, Vanessa researchers, speaks and writes about cracking the code of interesting human behavior. Vanessa’s groundbreaking workshops and courses teach individuals how to succeed in business and life by understanding the hidden dynamics of people. Her specialty is human lie detection and body language in business.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emory University in 2007 and is SETT certified with Dr. Paul Ekman, SUBx certified, is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and certified in Statement Analysis.
MICHELLE JOHNSON (Emcee)
Michelle is the champion of community and brand building at The Anchor Group.
Her background in both Event Management and Human Resources taught her that shared purpose makes a community — and a successful gathering. Michelle’s true expertise is getting clients to start with a vision and carry it through to the end — a task requiring collaboration on a wide scale with seamless execution and guiding with a purpose. Her professional career started at The Timberland Company as the Director of Global Events and today successfully owns The Anchor Group, an event agency out of the New England area.
In addition to managing events, Michelle currently supports 10 Chapters for Meeting Professionals International across the country as a Facilitator and Coach. They have come to rely on Michelle as a facilitator, as she assists in building their business plans, staying on track with their goals, executing seamlessly and keeping their eye on the prize. She was recently appointed the Chair of the Chapter Member Advisory Council for Meeting Professionals International. She is also a Past President of the New England Chapter of MPI and has been a Platinum Speaker since 2007.
Concurrent Education Speakers
STACEY PAUL BARABE
Stacey Paul Barabe, CSEP, owner of Exhilarate Events and Marketing has over 20 years’ experience producing 1,000's corporate and association events giving her the diversity and insight into the principles that govern events.
Stacey proudly services on the board of a Toastmasters International Chapter and MPI Orlando. She has is past-president of ILEA Orlando, advisory board for Special Events Magazine, chaired TSE Leadership Lunch 2016, is a frequent speaker at Rosen College of Hospitality Management and featured speaker at WEC2013 on Innovation and Influence. Notable awards included a TSE Gala Award, BizBash National Style Award, multiple Orlando WOW awards and 2016 MPI Orlando Planner of the Year.
Joanna Berens’ industry career spans more than thirty years, beginning with ten years in the destination management sector, working in the Washington, DC, New York and Miami markets
She followed with thirteen years in both operations and sales with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, culminating with a position as Global Account Director. In February, 2006, Joanna opened her own third-party site selection and logistics company, Joanna Berens Hospitality, Inc., and is accredited as a Travel Sales Intermediary with IATAN. Joanna has been a member of the South Florida chapter of Meeting Professionals International since 1991 and served in several board and committee capacities, including VP of Finance (twice) and Scholarship Chair. Joanna was an “originating” member of the TONS Committee beginning in 1999, and served as TONS Chair from 2008-09 as well as Education Chair for the 2014 SEC. A proud three-time winner of the chapter President’s Award, she also received the prestigious Norma Bondy Industry Leader Award for her extensive years of service to SFMPI. Her passion for food rescue began in 2016 after a hotel told her she could not donate leftover food from her conference due to liability reasons! Joanna now serves as Food Rescue Chair of the Green Meeting Industry Council, FL/Caribbean Network.
John Buschman is an Adjunct Instructor at Florida International University’s (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from FIU’s Robert Stempel School of Public Health & Social Work.
John earned his Masters’ in Hospitality Management from FIU, a Bachelors in Travel and Tourism Management with a certificate in Latin American Studies from Michigan State University. As part of his doctoral program he has worked at the Community-Based Intervention Research Group in Miami. Currently he is researching the issue of community food insecurity and exploring ways that the hospitality industry can help to alleviate it. Originally from Michigan, John has lived and worked all over the world, serving in executive positions in many leading tourism and hospitality operations. He keeps his finger on the pulse of the industry through his memberships in GMIC, MPI, and SITE. John frequently speaks to community and hospitality industry groups on food and sustainability topics. Each February he serves as Food Rescue Coordinator for the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, a complex operation that recovers unused foods from over 100 exhibiting chefs and delivers it to Feeding South Florida, Miami Rescue Mission and other local agencies.
MCKENZIE KAUFELD COUNTS
McKenzie Kaufeld Counts joined Wildly Different shortly after earning her BS in Event Management at the Rosen College of Hospitality at the University of Central Florida.
As the Manager of Making it Happen, she has an extensive background in event operations with a focus on gamification and interactive, branded engagement.
As the former Director of Education for the MPI Orlando Chapter, Mac’s enthusiasm and passion for this industry have proved to be contagious. A fresh-faced dynamo, Mac has been featured in BizBash, and spoke at the 2016 FUSE Roadshow in Orlando as well as CIC's CMP Conclave 2016 in Baltimore.
DR. EDWARD DRAMBERGER
Dr. Dramberger is Program Director & Professor in Hospitality Management at Keiser University in Jacksonville, Florida.
He is also Principal of Destination Dr. Consulting; an International Marketing Tourism Consulting & Educational Training organization based in New York. As a speaker, author, trainer and consultant; Destination Dr. facilitates sales/marketing training and consults with Hotel companies, DMO’S, CVB’s, Tour operators and Countries Tourism boards. His research consists of the “buying-seller” relationship within the MICE and Tourism industry. He has developed a proven results oriented selling model “Compass Selling®” within the convention/meeting/tourism sector. His research and training seminars are vital for all sales and marketing professionals, aimed at increasing Destination brand awareness, market share and expanding overall tourism revenue by 25% guaranteed. He partners with global Universities offering strategic course curriculum and developed an International Hospitality/Tourism Training Institute.
Ed has 35 years of senior level work and teaching experience within the hospitality and tourism field. His senior level sales & marketing work experience includes, Hotels, MICE, Tour Companies’ Tourism Boards, DMO’s and CVB’s. His teaching and speaking experience includes Colleges and Universities in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia and the Middle East. He has travelled, lived and worked within the 6 Continents / 194 Countries; in search of the next Destination. He is publishing a book entitled “Destination Diaries” in 2017, which focuses on his unique travel experiences from around the world.
Ed holds a Doctorate in International Marketing & Tourism, Masters of Science in Hospitality & Tourism Management, MBA in International Business and a Bachelor’s of Science in Hotel Management.
Sandi Galloway, CPECP is a Hospitality Industry veteran with extensive knowledge of etiquette, protocol and travel safety.
She spent the first 20 years of her career traveling the world with international airlines including Pan Am and British Airways. Her experience in passenger service and in-flight services has given her first-hand knowledge of safety issues in the air and at the airport.
She joined the Canadian Tourism Commission in 1992 as Director of Meetings and Conventions - Southern USA. While there, she earned her Certified Protocol, Etiquette & Civility Professional designation from the Global Protocol, Etiquette & Civility Academy in Dallas, Texas. She retired in 2015 to start her own company, Sandi Galloway & Associates. Her company specializes in training the hospitality industry in etiquette and travel safety.
A 25 year member of MPI, she is the recipient of Meeting Professionals International – DFW Chapter: 2010 Supplier of the Year, 2012 Committee of the Year Chair, 2014 Award of Excellence – Strategic Partnerships and was the Canadian American Chamber of Commerce 2013 Business Women of the Year.
Sandi’s mission is to help you avoid ‘bad things’ when you travel.
Kevin Iwamoto, Senior Consultant at GoldSpring Consulting, brings more than 35 years of experience in corporate travel & meetings/events management to clients.
He works with global influencers across industries to raise awareness of the benefits of Strategic Meetings Management (SMM). He is considered one of the original founders of SMM and is acknowledged globally as a leading subject matter expert.
Iwamoto is a former President & CEO of the Board of Directors for the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). He’s served on numerous association boards, most recently as a Board member for the US Council for the MPI Foundation.
Lisa Jennings is passionate about delivering interactive events because, as is summed up in Leo Buscaglia's quote, “It is paradoxical that many still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.”
She has delivered this message at numerous conferences and has been featured in many industry publications.
She is now the owner and Chief Experience Officer for Wildly Different, which delivers unique interactive events. She works with Fortune 500 clients to deliver networking and team building experiences. In addition, she works hand-in-glove with major entertainment companies to provide events for their clients including Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal, Atlantis and cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney and Norwegian.
Lori Kleiman has more than 25 years of experience advising companies on HR issues.
She has deep experience working in family business, creating an entrepreneurial venture and running a division of a fortune 1000 organization. Lori founded a boutique HR consulting firm acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in 2007. Lori continued with Gallagher to lead the HR consulting practice until 2013, until she left for her next venture, HR Topics. HR topics bring HR to small business in a way that is relevant, actionable and manageable. Lori has a master’s degree in human resources, is SPHR and SHRM-SCP certified and a member of the National Speakers Association.
Bharat Krish is the CEO of RefineAI.com. RefineAI helps its clients find new digital revenue and growth opportunities through its AI based Market Research and Events products.
Bharat has over 17 years of experience in the Media Industry. He previously held executive leadership roles at HBO Latin America and NBC Universal in charge of building large organizations and projects from the ground up. His successes included launching products like HBO GO, Cinemax GO, Sony, A&E, Syfy and Universal Studio and History channels across Latin America, Brazil and the Caribbean. While at NBC Universal he was instrumental in launching the Emmy award winning NBCOlympics.com for the Beijing Summer Olympics and for the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Bharat started his professional career as a Software Engineer at GE Healthcare. He holds a Masters degree from Columbia University in Technology Management, a Masters degree in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University and a Bachelors degree in Computer Science.
Bharat currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Miami-Dade’s STEM education initiative and is a member of The Computer Vision Foundation. He currently lives in Coral Gables, FL with his wife and his 4-year-old son.
Christy is the Founder and Chief Strategist of Strategic Meetings & Events, which specializes in producing events that achieve clients’ marketing and sales goals.
With an ability to see the big picture while simultaneously understanding events down to the minutia, Christy’s ability to create, market and execute programs has made her a leader in the industry. When Christy joined the meetings industry 27 years ago, event planning was a concept more than a recognized profession.
A former Vice President of a Fortune 20 company and a member of five start-up organizations, Christy has built successful marketing, event, travel, and tradeshow, departments for companies while simultaneously helping them create or strengthen their brands and the infrastructure that supports them.
Christy is a nationally recognized, award-winning strategic planner and entrepreneur, writes for multiple industry publications, speaks at conferences worldwide, has a private coaching practice and has taught event and meeting management classes at a college level for 10 years and is working on an industry textbook focusing on the science of strategic planning. She speaks at industry events whenever possible as a way of giving back to the profession that has given her 27 years of career satisfaction.
David H. Lau is currently a Senior Instructor within the Department of Homeland Security and specializes in counterterrorism topics: physical security, critical infrastructure security, terrorism, surviving hostage situations, and mindset training.
David has performed duties as a liaison and advisor to foreign law enforcement and military organizations. Most recently, he was the Deputy Team Chief of an Advisor mission to Afghan National Security Forces (2011-2012). David lived in the Faryab Province of Afghanistan for eight consecutive months, performing counterinsurgency missions alongside our Afghan partners.
David was also a Federal Air Marshal for over fourteen years and served as an International Missions Team Leader. He coordinated with numerous law enforcement agencies of foreign nations in order to facilitate the movement of his teams and their gear through foreign countries. David has a baccalaureate degree in International Affairs (Cum Laude) from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
David is passionate about giving back to the veteran community and serves as the Georgia chapter president for a non-profit organization that helps combat wounded veterans rediscover camaraderie and healing through water sports. David can be contacted at Kahuna45@gmail.com.
With over 20 years of planning experience, Tara Liaschenko is an award-winning professional who has earned an impeccable reputation for creativity and excellence in the event and meeting planning industry.
She is the recent recipient of the 2015 MPI Global RISE Award for Member of the Year. She is the Founder and Creative Executive Officer of The Link Event Professionals, Inc., a global company based in Tampa, Florida dedicated to planning services covering all aspects of meetings and events.
With strong community commitment, long-standing relationships with ethical and reliable vendors, and adept knowledge of production, Ms. Liaschenko is at the forefront of her industry consistently delivering her clients successful meetings and events.
Effective teams = effective and productive work places, no matter the industry. How do teams become effective?
The idea of “team building” has been around for as long as individuals have been tasked to work together, but often conjures up negative images of long slide presentations or individuals falling off tables into their teammates' arms.
With over 15 years of experience across multiple formats of corporate events, Wild Rooster Events has witnessed and participated in their evolution first hand and is paving the way for the next 15 years with innovative, challenging, rewarding, and groundbreaking events. These are not your grandmother’s team building events.
Melissa Milione, CMP, CPCE, is Corporate Director of Events for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.
She supports all of the professionals who sell and coordinate catering and conference services for all of Hyatt’s full service hotels in the Americas. In addition, she is responsible for developing and executing all training for the division, delivering innovative technology to support events and developing talent for the hotels. She leads Hyatt’s National Event Planning team. A graduate of Virginia Tech’s Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management program, Melissa has 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry in all areas of F&B management, hotel sales and convention services. As a Director of Catering her teams have twice been named Catering/CS team of the Year for Hyatt Hotels and she was named Director of Catering/CS of the Year for large hotels in 2008.
Gabrielle Mourino graduated from the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management with a degree in Event Management and a love for the industry.
Over the past 6 years Gabrielle has worked as an event professional, providing both entertainment and event planning services for corporate meetings, concerts, fundraising events, and weddings. She is the current 1st Vice President and Education chair of the Orlando chapter of NACE (National Assn. of Catering Executives) and has volunteered as produced for The Special Event and BizBash. Working one on one with clients to help make their vision a reality is what really motivates Gabrielle.
There’s no business that’s not show business. But show business is no place for the faint of heart.
With decades of experience as a provider of entertainment and event management services, Michael shares a wealth of knowledge gained through his career in the often unique and always exciting meetings & events industries. His company, EventGenuity, LLC, produces business events throughout North America, providing Events & Meetings Management and Corporate Entertainment capabilities for corporate & association clients.
A meetings industry activist, Michael has served on MPI International Board of Directors, TNSAE Board of Directors, NATD Board of Directors, and on PCMA Global Advocacy & Independent Planner Task Forces. He currently serves as past Chair of Convention Industry Council APEX Standards Committee, and as a member of The Meetings Industry Wi-Fi Coalition.
Connie Riley, CMP, CSEP is the Vice President of T. Skorman Productions and a theatrical Event Producer.
She is a past President of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) and one of the elite few to maintain dual industry certifications - Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) and the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation from the Convention Industry Council (CIC). Connie speaks and mentors on entertainment and production topics and is a team member on numerous Special Event Gala and ISES Esprit Awards. She continues to volunteer for MPI and ILEA, to produce sessions for The Special Event and BizBash and frequently donates her services for fundraising events.
Eric Rozenberg is an entrepreneur, speaker and best-selling author.
He is launching an online course for Event Business Owners in the Fall of 2017.
He is the Founder of Swantegy and a Founding Partner of Keyway. For almost 20 years, Eric has been travelling the world, running projects in more than 50 countries worldwide and consulting for Fortune 500 companies across many different industries. He holds several degrees from Warocqué and Solvay Business Schools in Belgium and from INSEAD and MIT. He speaks several languages...hence his accent.
Eric was the first European to become Chairman of the International Board of Meetings Professional International (MPI) and is a current member of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) and The Strategic Forum. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Demoucelle Parkinson Foundation in Belgium and is helping The Welcome Home Group in South Florida.
When not sleeping in a plane or a hotel, he enjoys his family and the paradise of South Florida.
His first book, Meeting at C-Level – An Executive Guide for driving strategy and helping the rest of us figure out what the Boss wants, has been endorsed by twenty of the most influential people in the Meetings & Events Industry and has become a best-seller.
Eric can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericrozenberg and tweet as @yoda18.
BYRON G. SABOL
Byron G. Sabol is an international speaker, consultant and author of Taming The Best: Success With Difficult People.
He has presented to audiences in three continents and serviced clients in 12 countries. Byron and his staff pioneered business generation, personal communications, and client service methodologies currently utilized by professional service firms in the US, the UK, and Europe. His clients include some of the most successful and prestigious professional service firms in the United States, UK, and Europe.
He has a bachelor's degree in Marketing and an MBA in Management with Honors. He has been a part-time faculty member at five universities in California and Florida. His numerous articles on marketing, client service, communications, and international business development are published in journals in the US and Abroad.
Sarah Sebastian received her Bachelors of Science in Marketing from Johnson and Wales and since then has worked in many capacities in the event marketing world from agency to brand sides to now on her second business in the industry.
She has worked for brands such as Remy-Cointreau, Beam Global and Grey Goose as well as experiential agency, Agency-EA. She specializes in experiential events and brand marketing for consumer lifestyle brands. After designing and producing global events for over 10 years, Sarah is now the Owner and Creative Director of Rose Gold Collective. Rose Gold Collective is an event experience agency specializing in elevating corporate events and creating memorable experiences.
Lauralee Shapiro’s career began in restaurant management at Toronto International Airport.
This was followed by a transition to sales and operations with a DMC in San Juan, PR. In 1999 she moved into hotel sales, selling for Starwood Hotels in Puerto Rico and Orlando, Melia Hotels in Puerto Rico and IHG in Orlando. Drawing on her knowledge and experience from these years in hotel convention sales, she made the move to becoming a planner. Lauralee first joined ConferenceDirect in 2007, focusing on hotel site selection and contract negotiations. She helps her customers secure contracts that offer great value, meaningful concessions and reduced liability.
Lauralee graduated in 1989 from Seneca College in Toronto Canada where she studied Tourism Industry Administration. She also received a certificate in Meeting & Event Planning from the University of South Florida. In 2011, she earned her CMP designation. She currently lives in Orlando Florida with her two sons, Josh and Jesse.
Ron is the founder and CEO of Bizly, the next-generation corporate platform for managing small meetings and events.
Prior to Bizly, Ron was a venture capitalist for 15 years, most recently the founder and managing director of Jina Ventures where he accomplished several IPOs and strategic exits. He was an on-air expert contributor on CNBC's "Trading the Globe" for three years. Ron has his MBA from NYU Stern and lives in New York City.
Hardy Smith works with associations and nonprofits who want an ongoing culture of performance.
His results-oriented approach is based on a career of more than 30 years in the high performance world of NASCAR racing. His extensive professional and personal involvement with associations and nonprofits has led to an in-depth understanding of the challenges these organizations face. He has held numerous local, state, and national volunteer leadership positions.
Hardy’s audiences benefit from his personable, positive, and passionate delivery style. He brings energy and enthusiasm to his presentations and to reinforce lessons being taught, he uses humor, positive motivation, personal stories, tough love, and specific how-to-take-aways. To further stimulate engagement, he incorporates participation activities and other engagement techniques.
Hardy’s book Why Don’t Board Members Do What They’re Supposed To Do? is scheduled for publication in 2017.
Learn more about Hardy by visiting: www.hardysmith.com
Jan Horton Spence is an international speaker, consultant, trainer and business coach.
With contagious charisma and a zest for life which make her an excellent motivator and leader, the Georgia native has used her vast knowledge in sales, marketing, communications, finances and business operations to help numerous clients including Pillsbury, Walmart, and Frito-Lay.
After launching the second FiltaFry franchise in the US in 2003 Jan and her husband, Mitch, were awarded the “2005 Franchisee of the Year” by the International Franchise Association. Meeting their four-year plan, they sold the business in 2007 at 300% ROI.
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